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Kent firefighters in Haiti move to town of Leogane

Published on 18 January 2010

Kent firefighters, who are part of the UK ISAR mission in Haiti, have now moved to the town of Leogane
The team flew out to Haiti last week after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed thousands of people
Kent firefighters, who are part of the UK International Search and Rescue (ISAR) mission in Haiti, have now moved to the town of Leogane.

Approximately 25 miles west of Port Au Prince, Leogane is much nearer to the epicentre and reports indicate that 80 to 90 per cent of the town has been destroyed.

No search and rescue has previously taken place there, so the UK ISAR team - which includes six Kent firefighters - was deployed to the area yesterday (Sunday) and is expected to work there for a couple of days.

KFRS Assistant Director of Operations, Sean Bone-Knell said: "We're pleased to hear of reports of success at the weekend and are proud of the team's professionalism which is being used in an extremely difficult area.
"We hope our firefighters can continue to save lives while working alongside colleagues from across the UK and around the world. The team is in good health and spirits and is being well looked after."

The team flew out to Haiti on Wednesday last week after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed thousands of people.

The Kent team is working alongside personnel from Greater Manchester, West Sussex, West Midlands, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Hampshire and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Services; a team total of 61 personnel, two search dogs and 12 tonnes of equipment.

Only fourteen weeks ago, a UK-ISAR deployment of firefighters, including a team from KFRS, were called upon to recover earthquake victims in Indonesia.

"We hope our firefighters can continue to save lives while working alongside colleagues from across the UK and around the world"

Based in Maidstone, the search and rescue team has been selected from existing KFRS staff and is trained to use specialist equipment capable of handling a range of major emergencies.

As well as responding to UK ISAR deployments, the team also forms part of KFRS's Urban Search and Rescue response which has capability including kit to lift, cut and remove concrete and rubble from collapsed structures along with sophisticated equipment for finding casualties, including special cameras and listening devices.

The tools they use can penetrate reinforced concrete and metal to gain access to casualties and the use of shoring equipment allows team members to maintain a safe working position during rescues.

Any deployment outside of the UK will not affect our search and rescue capability.

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